A Network

This visual from the Sunnybrook Trails in Toronto reminded me of our structure of social networks. Roots that sink deeply into the forest bed, paths that wind in different directions. Branches that spread out in many directions with various twigs and buds emerging. Some branches overlapping, interchanging, seemingly collaborating. In the distance, blue skies of opportunity. All held together in its own eco system and community networks.

Have Purpose

The social networking world can seem to some to be very ominous. I’m also convinced that, regardless of age or stage of life, everyone can benefit from the right social network designed for the individual with a purpose in mind.

If you think of your current role and how you might benefit from a stronger use of social network, you might be pleasantly surprised at what nuggets of opportunity arise. Even if there is not a “role” for you in a formal context. Think of your interests, your passions, your dreams, your travel, former friends and colleagues, the old home town.

Let’s think of a few examples of purposeful social networking

Possibilities of Purpose

Professionals, Business Folks, Not for Profit Leaders, Students seeking a new job opportunity in the work force, Mid-Career changing Individuals, Community Leaders; the one sure place that you need to be networking is LinkedIN. LinkedIN offers a world of connectivity and an opportunity to lay your profile out in a very professional setting. You have the ability to join groups, search conversations and interests and even take a peek at their constantly updated job boards. A sure bet for professional networking.

If you travel, TripAdvisor is just such a wonderfully rich catch of information, reviews, suggestions, photos and interesting insights from those who have gone before you. Once you’ve seen the power of TripAdvisor you might like to add your own reviews to help others in the pursuit of travel insights.

Quilters may find great opportunities to connect via Pinterest or Instagram as they share the joys of the various works of art. Extend that to any number of artists and their communities.

Artists may also find the outlet of blogging a wonderful way to express their works of art and bring attention to their creative genius and works. I use WordPress but there are many platforms to assess for blogging. There are also a lot of web design tools. Frankly, I’m just not that technically suited so I had the folks at JIB create my website.

Those in public service or community influence are likely to find that the news feed benefit and keyword search and #hashtags on Twitter is an easy wasy to keep an eye on what’s new. It’s no surprise that just about every news cast and newscaster has resorted to profiling their Twitter handles, when reporting the day’s news.

I would suggest that anyone can find a purposeful advantage on Facebook. Facebook is just so large and far reaching. Who can deny that there might be a place with a number of different purposes to engage. Whether you create your own group, with specific interests and privacy – a page for a specific cause or undertaking – an event in your community where you can create a special event and invitation page – or perhaps a page for your business or cause. Facebook also provides a very reasonable “boost” to pay for advertising and targeting those within the Facebook world that you might like to reach.

Google+ is terrific for building a following and community and grouping within specific interests. Google has a wonderful set of applications and suite of business tools including a special drive, google alerts, YouTube etc. Google Apps for work is a great place to check out tools for your business.

Speaking of YouTube, you might well have your own collection of moments; or your own special stories to tell via video and collect them on your own YouTube channel. YouTube is also such a huge resource to find out how to do just about anything. From learning to play your favourite tune on the piano, to building something of interest for your home or cottage – you’ll find it all on YouTube – get in there and search something out!

If you are just looking to “listen”, you might find Blab or Periscope or Vine applications of interest to you on a given subject matter. You can participate, or just watch and listen. Video is just simply a powerful way to communicate. The one “caution” is not to make it too long. In my humble opinion, you’ll lose the viewer after a few minutes max (if recorded, different if live streaming of course).

One more network that you will find is more youth oriented, for the time being that is. Until the parental units catch on to how much is being communicated via this platform (smiles)  SnapChat. SnapChat offers a quick, casual, easy way to keep in touch and share photos, collections or quick videos with friends “in the moment”. There are also a number of ongoing features and newsfeeds through SnapChat.

In closing, don’t forget that your email and contact list continues to serve as a critical foundation of your social network. Keep those contacts neat and tidy. Keep them updated with today’s relevant information. Attempt to include social networks along with phone and address. You’ll find fax numbers less important and Twitter Profiles more use today. Along with your email service there are a number of email tools to utilise for list outreach and campaigns. Mail Chimp and Constant Contact are just two of many services available.

Get Your NetworkWorking

All in this is just a nudge for you to get that network working.

Whatever your interest, passion, cause or focus – there is bound to be information, people and learning that you can find and network with, across the social channels.

Have fun engaging. If you need more direction or support, I’d be happy to chat further on some ideas best suited to you and your business or cause.  Ciao for now !  FERG @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork